In my research I’m aiming at the identification of novel bioactive molecules from natural sources, including marine invertebrates, marine microorganisms and terrestrial plants. The Red Sea is likely to be a rich resource for promising novel bioactive molecules and KAUST is the perfect place to explore this chemical diversity by a multitude of both, traditional and innovative new technologies. Moreover we seek to include terrestrial plants which have been used in traditional arab medicine for centuries. A major goal of my work is to establish a comprehensive proprietary bio-resource for various screening applications at KAUST.
A major focus of my work is set on viral pathogens which play a major role in human infectious diseases. Dengue virus, a mosquito-borne member of the flavivirus family causing severe clinical outcomes, is of great local as well as global importance.
We are aiming to establish a comprehensive screening platform for this viral pathogen targeting several steps of viral replication. All work involving infectious virus will be carried out in BSL-3 laboratories at a partner institute in Germany. We
are also planning to test our KAUST bio-resource for novel activities targeting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on a retrovirus screening platform at the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Germany.
Moreover, I plan to develop new assay technologies for additional high priority drug targets in order to broaden the spectrum of available screening technologies at KAUST.
I graduated in virology with a diploma thesis on the hepatitis C virus (a member of the flavivirus family) and earned my PhD with a thesis on genetics of macroalgae from the High Arctic. In the following years I worked as a PostDoc on the establishment of a full-replication screening platform for HIV and the identification and characterization of novel antiretroviral activities. I participated in an industry-funded natural products project in the High Arctic and worked on several “marine” projects at the Great Barrier Reef, Red Sea, Caribbean, Arctic ocean and the North Sea.
Identification of novel bioactive molecules from various (marine) sources, including marine invertebrates, marine bacteria, and terrestrial plants. Development and implementation of innovative screening assays for high proiority drug targets with a focus on major viral pathogens: establishment of a dengue virus screening platform at KAUST and use of a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) HIV screening unit at an international partner institution.